Growing up in Southeast Texas, I have fond memories of all the hours that were spent with friends and family picking wild dewberries and blackberries each summer. After a long trek to the berry patch, a couple of hours spent picking and a walk home laden with berries, Mom’s freshly baked berry pie made it all worth the effort. I wanted to share this experience with my daughters, Sarah and Rachel so we began picking wild berries as soon as they seemed old enough. After many adventures involving snakes, chiggers, some homeless guy and my vehicle stuck in the mud, it finally dawned on me that there must be a better way to pick berries.
After years of consideration, finally in August of 2013 I found the right spot for our berry farm. It was close enough to home, and still outside Houston city limits, in Grangerland Texas. We spent the next eighteen months clearing brush along the fences, removing trees that were lost during the drought, building a storage shed, repairing the farmhouse and getting the soil just right.
Currently we have nearly fifteen acres with just over four acres under cultivation. Hopefully, we will add a couple more acres of blueberries or loganberries once this harvest season is complete. Throughout our time on the farm, we have tried to minimize our human “footprint ”as much as possible by preserving all of the large oak trees, using the existing concrete slabs and installing drip irrigation to conserve water and minimize fertilizer use. We don’t use pesticides on the farm and, to the extent that we can, pull those darned weeds by hand!
In addition to the berries of course, what I like most about this adventure has been all the time that we’ve spent as a family working together on the farm. Though pulling weeds in July is very hot and dirty work, I got to have some of the most interesting conversations, ever, with my three girls. And, I am still amazed at the generosity and enthusiasm of so many friends and family who helped get the farm up and running.
We hope that you enjoy picking berries as much as we’ve enjoyed getting them ready for you.
Paul, Sherry, Sarah and Rachel